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Cosmetic Dentistry for Crowded Teeth

by Dr Jay Padayachy on February 4, 2020

” I want to fix my smile but don’t know where to start”…

… is this a question you’ve ever asked? This blog post is written particularly if you want to understand more about cosmetic dentistry for crowded teeth, so let’s get started.

What problems do crowded teeth cause?

  1. Cosmetic and confidence reducing
  2. Increased risk of dental decay developing

The most obvious problem is one of cosmetics, not many people like the idea of having very crooked, rotated or crowded teeth, most people want to enjoy a straight smile as it is perceived as beautiful.… However, did you know that there are also oral health benefits from treating crooked teeth?

Everyday a biofilm layer builds upon the surface of your teeth, if this is not removed daily then it can harden off to form that nasty creamy coloured tartar in between your teeth. In this tartar the bacteria lurk and as they digest the sugars in your food they excrete acid and it is this acid which can lead to dental decay… And ultimately to tooth loss if it is not treated.

Cleaning in between teeth is easier if the teeth are straight

In order to keep the bacteria to a minimum, it’s important to clean your teeth daily, however, crooked teeth are more difficult to clean than straight teeth. We should be using floss or an interdental brush/stick to clean in between their teeth each day, this is far easier if the teeth are straight and in-line as it makes the floss or brush easier to get through.

How do braces work on crowded teeth

Braces are usually one of the preferred options to treat crooked teeth as they maintain as much natural tooth structure as possible.

This basic principle of tooth movement can often be seen in people that suck their thumb, they very often have protruding top teeth, the constant pressure on the roof of their mouth and inside of the teeth pushes them forwards. This same principle applies to braces, all that is required to move teeth is a constant pressure in the correct direction and the teeth will move.

Crowded teeth can be rotated by using different springs which push on one side and pull on the other side of the tooth thereby rotating it.

Complex spring mechanisms pushing and pulling at the same time

How to fix overcrowded teeth without braces

There are a few cosmetic alternatives to braces and crooked teeth can indeed be fixed without braces using one of 4 options:

  1. Cosmetic recontouring – sometimes it’s possible to reshape and re-contoured teeth to make them look more attractive. Very often people dislike the pointed canines (eye teeth) or perhaps don’t like the rough edges on the tips of their teeth. With some delicate trimming your dentist can re-contour these areas to look more beautiful.
  2. Dental bonding – minor crowding can often be treated this way, this is where a very small amount of tooth coloured resin is applied to the surface of the tooth, the raising built the tooth forwards into the correct alignment.
  3. Dental veneers – slightly crowded teeth can be treated with veneers, they work in the same way as bonding, by building the tooth forwards in to alignment however, veneers are made from a high-strength dental porcelain and are therefore often considered more durable than dental bonding.
  4. Dental crowns – sometimes the teeth are so broken down or require too much adjustment to accept dental veneers, in these instances crowns are used (caps). A crown covers the entire surface of the tooth with that tooth being reduced to a stump prior to having a crown placed on top. A crown can then be made in any shape, position or colour.

Cosmetic recontouring, dental bonding and dental veneers are usually only used on front teeth.

Do I need to have teeth extracted before braces

Not necessarily. However if teeth are crooked it can often mean that there is not enough space in your mouth for all of the teeth to be in a natural alignment. If this is the case then sometimes a dentist will remove the 1st premolar on either side, this gives space for the crooked teeth to be the rotated and spread out evenly in your smile.

In very rare situations patients have additional teeth, called supernumeraries, these are teeth in addition to the regular 32 teeth which adults usually have.

The only way to find out for sure is to have a consultation with a dentist and then diagnostic planning undertaken.

Can veneers be used for overlapping teeth

Most of the time, yes. However, teeth are often crooked and overlapping because there’s not enough space in the jaw for them to all be in an equal alignment. If the same number of teeth take up the same space and are straight then they can look very narrow, this would be required in order to fit them into the space but would look rather strange.

However, it is true that sometimes mildly overlapping teeth can indeed be straightened with veneers.

For this reason, orthodontics is sometimes preferred, along with extraction of a couple of teeth to make more space.

What are the most affordable cosmetic dentistry options?

Don’t confuse affordability with cheapness! Cheap is not always best and the saying that “if you buy cheap then you buy twice” is often so true.

This doesn’t mean to say that all treatments are expensive, sometimes amazing cosmetic dentistry results can be achieved with a small amount of dental bonding to reshape and straighten teeth, coupled with teeth whitening to whiten them and make a brighter smile.

In more complex cosmetic cases with additional complex treatments prices do tend to rise. In these instances it’s good to ask a dentist if they offer finance.

Many dentists offer 0% finance over an extended period of time helping make cosmetic dentistry more affordable.

Dr Jay Padayachy

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